Sixty two percent of marketers participating in an InsideLocal webinar stated that they felt that local search marketing was getting harder from a strategic standpoint, especially when it comes to citations, site content optimization and linkbuilding, reports Search Engine Land.
Some of the difficulties come from having to optimize several listings on several different sites, which include: Google+ (which ties into Google Maps and Places), Bing and Yahoo maps, Neustar Localeze, InfoUSA, Acxiom, and Factual. According to Search Engine Watch, the majority of local listings resources get their business data from the last four local data aggregators.
For each data aggregator and local listing site, marketers should make sure have their business’ correct NAP: name, address, phone. Using a local search citation listing site like GetListed.org can help local marketers make sure that they have the correct listings for their business on all major sites.
Handing Local Business Profiles
Having to check multiple listings certainly makes local search harder as marketers, but maintaining the same content on each listing (company description, services, and NAP information) can ease the burden of managing so many listings at once.
Besides their general feelings on whether or not search marketing is getting easier harder, the participants in the InsideSearch survey were also asked what the most difficult part of local search marketing is for them. Over 30 percent said handling user reviews and reputation management for multiple profiles, while 28 percent say that citation on the major local listings sites and link building are the hardest. Other answers included Google+ local optimization at 25 percent, social optimization at 10 percent, and 5 percent said on-site optimization.
Reputation management and handling reviews is likely the hardest for local search marketers because the reviews and content is published by an external user and is it something they can change. The best course of action is to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a public way when possible. According to Mashable, “People weigh the opinions of others heavily, even when they don’t know them. That said, they are more likely to trust a business owner who takes time to respond to reviews with the goal of improving their service.” A well-written response that is honest and level-headed can help resolve the issue quickly, while showing potential buyers that the business cares about its customers.
In addition, marketers should work on creating content that gives users searching for the business online valuable and useful information in the search results, making content marketing crucial to this aspect of SEO. Because content drives search results, it affects everything from local listing placement to traffic increases and overall engagement.
Local Business Optimization
Good content through review responses and proper local citations is crucial for all businesses, no matter their service area. However, even though local listings are important for businesses that have customers all over the country and beyond, local marketing is most important for service area businesses, also known as SABs. These are businesses that only serves customers in a targeted area or have a physical retail location.
Over 26 percent of survey respondents reported that reviews are the biggest issue or frustration when optimizing a SABs online listing profiles, while interestingly enough, 22 percent said that optimizing website content is the biggest issue for them. According to Myles Anderson of BrightLocal in the Search Engine Land post, “It’s often difficult to get local business owners to actively and regularly create new content for their site…There is also the issue of how to create decent, unique content to populate multiple ‘product+location’ landing pages which, in reality, have little differentiation.”
Other answers to the survey question included staying on top of Public NAP, targeting their service area, and local citations.
No matter what type of business you are marketing for, content marketing will not only influence the site it is published on, but also how the business appears in local search results. Users that are searching for a business online find websites with better content more reputable and are more likely to purchase a product or service from them as a result.
While local search marketing does have its ups and downs as well as its frustrations, the benefits of helping a business get found online through local maps for search results can dramatically increase a business’ online exposure and traffic, both in-store and online.
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